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                                                                                SEPTEMBER, 2019
                         The Virginia 
Bringing you news of the Virginia Synod since 1921.

New door at Williamsburg

"God Opens New Doors" is the headline in the Quill, newsletter of St. Stephen, Williamsburg. Designed by George Vonderheide, the glass in the doors brings sunlight and also acts as a mirror. Through the cross, "we are shown how to see the world differently."
In This Issue
Lutherans in the news
Bishop on Sanctuary action
Milwaukee Assembly.
How we can help immigrants
Photo book on "black South"
Norm Fintel book
Reformation, New Market volunteer in Madacascar
God's Work, Our Hands
Brandon Oaks Bazaar
God's creation is good
Junior High Servant Event
Racial justice pilgrimage
Poem from Dachau
"Unusual Kindness"
Pastor Olson dies at 79

Lutherans in the news

             Dr. Mary Hinkle Shore will be installed as rector and dean of Southern Seminary at a service in Christ Chapel on the Seminary campus at 10:30 a.m. on Sept. 10. After the service and a luncheon, Dr. Shore will speak on "Christ is risen: Proclaiming the gospel in a culture of fear."            
         Pastor Jim Utt, retired from Grace, Winchester, has completed six years of service on the ELCA Council. He was chair of the Board Development Committee of the Council for three years. Utt formerly served seven years at Ascension, Danville, and 30 years at Grace.
            Christopher Girardeau, a student at Southern Seminary, has started an intern year at Trinity Ecumenical Parish, Moneta. He follows Shea Berbaum, an intern for the past year. Girardeau is required to travel to Charleston, SC once a month for U.S.Air Force Reserve training. He and his wife, Ellen Girardeau, have moved to Smith Mountain Lake. Also at Trinity, John Romeo has started work as an occupational
Christopher and Ellen Girardeau
therapist. He is making home visits to screen for visible safety hazards,
            After five years of service at St. Paul's, Jerome, Pastor Jeff May has resigned and moved to a post as interim pastor of Zion Lutheran, Oldwick, NJ. After ordination in 1984, he served at St. Matthew, Toms Brook, Mt. Zion, New Market and St. James, Fishersville, and a church in New Jersey.
            Pastor Joe Vought, who formerly served at Muhlenberg, Harrisonburg, and Our Saviour, Richmond, is retiring from Community Lutheran, Sterling, on Sept. 29 after 36 years of ministry.
           Pastor Michael Weaver has come from North Carolina to serve as interim pastor at Ascension, Danville, following the move of Pastor Meredith Williams from Ascension to Grace and Glory, Palmyra.
           Pastor Joan Breckinridge has moved from New England Synod to Virginia Synod. Pastor Glenn Bell has moved from Virginia Synod to North Carolina Synod.
          Jody Smiley, St. Michael, Blacksburg, has been re-elected president of the Virginia Synodical Women's Organization. Other officers named at a Norfolk convention: Deniese Powell, Rural Retreat Parish, treasurer; Shelia Sanchez, St. John, Norfolk; JoAnn Fawley, Grace & Glory, Palmyra; Sylvia Eley, St. Andrew, Portsmouth; Lavelva Stephens, Trinity, Pulaski, and Edith Blake, Holy Communion, Portsmouth, board members. Three voting members to the 2020 WELCA Triennial Convention at Phoenix, AZ, were elected: Sylvia Eley, JoAnn Fawley and Kisa Somerville, St. Timothy, Norfolk. Jody Smiley will lead the delegation.
            Debbie Striecher, past president of the ELCA Christian Education Network and currently co-director of Milestones Ministry, will lead a Christian formation retreat for family ministries, at the Farmhouse at Camp Caroline Furnace on Oct. 8-10; She has worked with congregations to develop faith formation programs. The retreat will be sponsored by Roots & Wings. More information is available at
            The State FFA Leadership Group donated over 2,300 bags of food to the Loaves & Fishes supplemental food program at Hebron, Madison, for children with food insecurity in Madison County. The food was packed by 100 FFA members in less than two hours.
            First Lutheran, Norfolk, has planned a Social Justice Sunday School for high school and adults, starting Sept. 13, led by Suzy Biloum of Bridge Builders, an ELCA summer camp to develop young leaders.. Pastor Kelly Bayer Derrick, assistant to the bishop, will speak Sept.22 and Pastor Lynn Litchfield, development director for GraceInside, will speak Sept. 29.
            Pastor Paul Henrickson is taking a mini-sabbatical Aug. 26-Sept. 22 from his work as interim pastor at St. Michael, Blacksburg, for a cross-country trip with his wife, Jennifer. St. Michael's Micah Mobile Backpack has been providing food bags, vegetables and blueberries from the Micah's Garden for about 250 children each week of the summer.
            Bethel, Winchester, is starting a fall discipleship program, Back2Basics, along with a Spiritual Gifts inventory and a Ministry Celebration, planned for Oct. 13. Two graduates of the Bethania Kids program in South India, sponsored by Bethel, will visit Bethel on Oct. 8 on a "Tour of Love."
           At St. Paul's, Jerome, a Community Care team planned a First Responder breakfast, a new entrance sign proclaims, "Come Home to Jerome" and plans are made for a ride share program to bring people to church.
           At Holy Trinity, Lynchburg, Dr. John Abell, economics professor at Randolph College, will speak on "The Lingering Effects of Redlining in Lynchburg" at a Third Sunday program on Sept. 15. Also, a hymn festival in memory of Harvey Huiner will be held on Sept. 7.
           At Grace, Courtland, a Blind Leading the Blind service is an outreach telephone tool to broadcast the Sunday morning service for the blind community. "You do not have to be blind to use it," according to the congregation newsletter.
            Our Saviour, Warrenton, has a home visitation ministry for shut-in members. Congregation members will visit, listen, care and report back to the pastor. The congregation's confirmation class sent a green altar frontal to the Islands District of Papua New Guinea. Pastor Michael Church, Our Saviour, is delivering the frontal as a member of the Synod's team currently visiting Papua New Guinea.

Bishop speaks on Sanctuary action

(Following the ELCA Assembly declaration of the ELCA as a "Sanctuary Denomination," Bishop Bob Humphrey issued this statement.)
            I want to make a few comments that will hopefully clarify this action and respond to concerns. First, this declaration is consistent with the teachings of Holy Scripture in both the Old (Lev.19:34) and New (Heb. 11:13-14 & 13:1-2) Testaments, to cite just a few. It is consistent with the history in our church, long before the ELCA. The Bible and our long tradition clearly articulate that we are to provide support, care and advocacy for the least among us as though caring for Christ. (Mt. 25: 31-46)
              Offering hospitality and support to the stranger is at the very heart of who we are as God's people. This is another way of understanding the word, "Sanctuary." Our ELCA heritage is filled with stories of millions of immigrants, including many of our ancestors, coming to this country. Welcoming the stranger, offering hospitality, advocacy and care is certainly consistent with our Synod Vision to be FAITHFUL + BOLD + SERVING.
            Let me be clear. There is no call for Civil Disobedience or for actions breaking the law, in any way. If individuals, congregations or others feel called to such actions, they are strongly encouraged to consult an immigration attorney and become well educated about the potential risks and consequences before taking action. In a congregation, this should be a well informed and strongly supported decision.
              The ELCA's action is binding only on the Churchwide expression of our church, not Synods, congregations, institutions or agencies. So, this sanctuary declaration will take many forms across our church, including such things as: weekly worship prayers; English as Second Language (ESL) classes; protesting the detention and separation of children from their families; holding respectful conversations and events to learn of the needs and challenges of immigration and how this intersects with our faith. It could also include providing food, clothing and/or shelter to people in need, including immigrants and refugees. (Consult an immigration attorney for more information about pertinent laws and legal risks).
            Many more ideas for how to live out this Sanctuary declaration in your life and ministry context can be found on the website of our ELCA ministry called,  Accompanying Migrant Minors with Protection, Advocacy, Representation and Opportunities, or (AMMPARO).
            The ELCA Church Council along with ELCA staff and agencies have been given the responsibility of providing all of us with more information and potential resources.
The Virginia Synod Office of the Bishop will be glad to respond to your questions and concerns. We will also be lifting you and all our members in prayer along with all those we seek to serve in Jesus' name!      

Milwaukee Assembly 
decides the church's future
      by Pastor Tim Crummitt

"Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed 
to go up to Jerusalem to discuss this question with the apostles and the elders."
- Acts 15:2b

On August 5-10 the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America had its Churchwide Assembly. Every three years voting members from all 65 synods gather together to make the decisions of the church. I was privileged enough to be one of those selected by the Virginia Synod to attend. This was the first time I had attended a Churchwide Assembly and I was reminded of my first Synod Assembly and how it was described as "drinking from a firehose."
Several important events took place, things like our adoption of a new social statement, "Faith, Sexism, Justice: A Call to Action," the re-election of Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, and the election of a new ELCA Secretary. We offered an official apology to our family of African descent for the continued presence of racism, we approved A Declaration of Our Inter- Religious Commitment, passed several memorials calling for a range of action and response on a churchwide level, and we celebrated the anniversary of 50 years of ordination for female clergy, 40 years of ordination for women of color, and 10 years of full inclusion for our LGTBQIA+ pastors! I could spend pages unpacking the significance of these events, and they are important moments in our church, but my focus for this article is on something else.
As I sat in Milwaukee, WI during our first plenary session I was struck with one thought: I can now count myself in similar company to the titans of our faith who have met throughout the past 2,000+ years to decide the future of God's Church. I in no way compare myself to those like St. Paul or Barnabas, but I can count myself in the company of those who have been led by the Holy Spirit to make decisions for the whole church. It was a surreal moment when I humbly realized that I was taking part in something that could trace its roots back to that first meeting of the Apostles in the book of Acts.
It was a meeting of the church in Acts that decided that Gentiles had a place in the church. It was a council that met in Nicaea to pray and come to a consensus on the nature of Jesus, as expressed in the Nicene Creed. It was another council in Trent that formalized the canon, the books of the Bible. It was in preparation for the Diet of Augsburg that the Augsburg Confession was written, and more recently, it was a gathering of Lutherans across the United States of America that met in 1987 and decided to take another brave step in uniting Lutherans across the country with the formation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
When we look at events that we participate in it can often seem like things are motivated by personal opinions and influenced by behind-the-scenes politics. For some reason we naturally discount or distrust events during our lifetime. But when we do this we forget that ALL of the events in the life of the Church have been made through similar circumstances. When we look around the room, confessing our sin, it can seem impossible that we could come together to make the right decisions for God's Church, and yet... the Holy Spirit is alive and active anyway. Even in the midst of contentious decisions the Holy Spirit moves to bring about God's will. And now, I can count myself lucky to have been one of those moved by the Spirit.
Pastor Tim Crummitt wrote this column for the newsletter of his church, St. Paul's, Hampton.) 

How a congregation can help immigrants

           Following the ELCA Assembly declaration of a sanctuary church, the Virginia Interfaith Center listed actions a congregation can take.
            In Virginia, the Center said, there are two priorities to support and protect the immigrant community. The first is the creation of a driver's privilege card that would allow immigrants to take a vision test, a driver's exam and to be able to safely drive to work, school or church. This also allows immigrants to get around without fear of being arrested and deported for driving without a license. The second is in-state tuition for immigrant students who meet the residency requirements.
            Being a sanctuary body does not just mean offering a physical sanctuary to those in fear of deportation. There is lots of work to be done to keep people from ever needing sanctuary in the first place.
            The Center said there are five things a congregation can do:

            1. Sign a Center petition to "Welcome All" to Virginia and send a letter to a state delegate and senator, urging them to support driver's privilege cards and in-state tuition.

            2 In the Richmond area, connect with the Central Virginia Sanctuary Network

3. In the Northern Virginia area, connect with the DMV Congregation Action Network    
4. Arrange a speaker to talk with your congregation about the immigration crisis and advocacy. Contact Yanet Limon-Amado for more information.
5. Mark your calendar for rallies to support immigrants fighting for driver's privilege cards in Virginia Beach (Sep. 28) and Richmond, (Oct 5 ).                  

Photography book on "black South" published

            A book about a photographer in the "black South" of the 20th century was co-edited by Phil Dunn of Apostles Lutheran, Gloucester. The book, entitled "A True Likeness: The Black South of Richard Samuel Roberts, 1920-1936," was first published 33 years ago and now has been updated and re-released by the University of South Carolina Press.
            Dunn, a retired art professor at the university, operates Phil Dunn Photography. At the university, he spent three years restoring nearly 4,000 glass plate negatives by Richard Samuel Roberts, whose pictures documented the emergence of a black middle class

Norm Fintel: trying to save the world
            Norm Fintel was "so much larger than president of Roanoke College," said his daughter, Peggy Fintel Collins, in a talk at Brandon Oaks, Roanoke, about her new book, "Love, Norm," Aug. 29. She signed copies afterward.
            In the book, Collins said her father had "that inner light of joy that comes from a life defined by moral courage and an unwavering commitment to serving mankind...a humble and courageous man who spent the final months of his life trying to save the world."
            Fintel, remembered in Salem and beyond as Roanoke president for 14 years, started the book in 2016 when he was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. Before he died a year later, he asked his daughter to finish the work.
            The book gives 34 life lessons and quotes from his "timeless wisdom." Some examples: "Everyone is equal. Look beyond what makes us different." "What good is a half-baked potato?" "Home is wherever you lay your head." "Don't forget to slow down and enjoy the beauty of the earth."
            Among the questions for self-reflection, at the end of each chapter: "What are the values you want to have instilled within your children?" In a world of competing and often biased news sources, how can you keep your mind open to all sides and opinions?"
Collins discovered 470 lifetime writings of her father in an old cabinet and there "the elements of his life emerged" and she learned of "the influences that shaped a moral giant." Fintel had a vision of "a world of peace, one where people take care of all people.  Where equality rules. Where agape love and kindness thrive."
Collins recalled highlights of her father's life. Growing up on a Nebraska farm, he won an airplane in a raffle and flew it for a couple years. He was prepared to go to seminary for a life of pastoral service when he got a job offer from a college and changed course. One of his jobs at Roanoke was raising money. In 14 years, she said, he raised an average of $14,000 every day.
Jo Fintel, a longtime partner to Norm Fintel, plays a significant role in the book. Meeting Jo Kosbau was "the most important event in my entire life," he said, Their marriage is described as "a rare equal partnership and an example of the strength that that comes to an individual because of the selection of a mate." The college library bears both of their names.
Collins, who lives in South Carolina, has standing too. In 2003, she co-founded Dining for Women, an organization promoting gender equality through 470 chapters It has educated 32,000 citizens.
For information on the book, contact It is priced at $16.99,

Reformation, New Market,
member  serving in Madacascar

Jayne Kokkonen of Reformation.New Market, (fourth from left), stands with the "Madagasquad," ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission, who are beginning their year of service and learning at Madagascar.

God's Work, Our Hands
            A tradition of service

            The annual ELCA tradition of God's Work, Our Hands is taking many forms across the Synod in September.. Christ Lutheran in Roanoke got a headstart when members joined four other Grandin Road neighborhood churches for a "Grand Day of Service , God's Hands in the Community" on Aug. 24. They painted a classroom for an after-school literacy program and completed a variety of other projects.
Volunteers at First Lutheran, Norfolk, have several choices of work on Sunday, Sept. 22. They can assemble school supply kits for Lutheran World Relief, clean pews in the sanctuary, work in a car wash or bring fruits and vegetables for a food bank. Or they can work at a food bank or a laudromat on other days. Many volunteers wear yellow T-shirts.
Members of Muhlenberg, Harrisonburg, will join 17 other congregations at Grace, Waynesboro, on Sept. 7 in a "Rise Against Hunger" program to pack over 26,000 meals for school children in Haiti, where lunch is often their only meal. Families with children and adults of all ages are needed.
At Bethel, Winchester, members will prepare and serve lunch for the homeless in the community. They also will decorate and design giant thank-you cards and deliver cookies for first responders, in memory of the first responders who served and gave their lives on 9/11. Members of St. Mark's, Roanoke, will be volunteering at Roanoke Rescue Mission where several hundred meals are prepared daily. Holy Trinity, Wytheville, will join the Rural Retreat Parish to help landscape at a Minnick school or collect and package personal care kits for Lutheran World Relief.
Across the ELCA, some congregations are participating in this day of service by sending thousands of messages to their members of Congress, pairing public witness and issue discernment with service activities. A new hymn, written for the event, "expresses how the people of the church live in service for the life of the world." It was written by Wayne Wold, a music professor at Hood College, Frederick, MD.

Brandon Oaks Bazaar set for Sept. 28

           The annual Fall Bazaar of Brandon Oaks Auxiliary is planned for Saturday, Sept. 28, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the retirement center auditorium. A raffle, hot dogs and chili will be offered and jewelry, collectibles, local crafts, baked goods, Christmas items, linens, furniture, artwork and lamps will be on sale. The Bazaar is for the benefit of residents of the Brandon Oaks nursing and rehab center and memory center.

God's creation is good
     by Pastor Rachel Manke
I danced in the morning
When the world was begun,
And I danced at the moon
And the stars and the sun
And I came down from heaven
At Bethlehem
I had my birth.
(Hymn "Lord of the Dance" -Brackett and Carter)

            Summer is running at full blast. The crepe myrtles are popping out. The bunnies, turtles, deer, bluebirds, bees, mosquitoes, fireflies...are all out there doing their thing.
            Thunderstorms roll through with with awesome power and a dynamic show. The cicadas and peepers play their evening symphony. Is not God's great creation a wonder to behold? And it is good.
            A sense of wonder and care for God's creation is in our Lutheran heritage. Just look at these quotes from Martin Luther himself:
            "God is entirely and personally in the wilderness, in the garden, in the field." LW 3761.)"
            "The power of God is present at all places, even in the tiniest tree leaf." (LW 17.57)
            "God is wholly present in all creation, in every corner, behind you and before you. Do you think that God is (just) sleeping?
            Indeed, if God is the maker of and present in all of creation, is it not our joy to care for it? Surely! This is a bit of the focus of our VBS this year. First, we focus on the Parable of the Sower and the seeds that God has planted in each of us to produce love and kindness. Then, to show that same love and kindness to the world around us, in our community and around the globe.
            Our daily lives are a constant opportunity to: plant a tree, recycle, upcycles, buy local from the farmer's market, plant pollinator flowers for the bees, use LED bulbs, air dry your clothes, choose reusable items..the list goes on. See how many ways we can celebrate God's creation? Is not showing love for God's creation, showing love and appreciation for the Creator of all?
            Indeed, God is not just sleeping on a pillow in heaven. God did jump headlong into creation in the person of Jesus. The gospel of Christ is indeed lived out in our daily lives. The grace and love that we extend to all of God's creation was first given to us by the grace and mercy of our God. Christ, the Word of God, enlivens us to act.
            "Without the Word of God, no creature has being. God's Word is in all creation, visible and invisible. The Word is living, being, spirit, all verdant greening, all creativity. All creation is awakened, called, by the resounding melody. God's invocation of the Word. All creation is a symphony of praise to God." (Hildegard of Bingen)
            Join the dance, join the song. God's creation is good indeed!
(Pastor Manke wrote this column for Lion's Roar, the newsletter of St Mark, Yorktown.)

Learning, serving, worshiping at Virginia Beach
Servant Event participants

            (A report on the annual Junior High Servant Event from the Shepherd's Horn of Good Shepherd, Virginia Beach.)

            At this year's Junior High Servant Event, 33 youth and eight adults spent a week in the Tidewater area learning, serving, worshiping God and having a good time. We learned about the causes of homelessness, the obstacles and hardships faced by people living in homelessness and what services are available to help them.
            As we heard the stories of people whose lives were turned upside down, often by situations that were out of their control, such as unexpected illness and high medical bills or job loss, we also gained empathy for their situation and for the difficulties they face in finding food, shelter health care and community.
            One of the places we served, People in Need (PIN) Ministry, provides community and care for those who are living in homelessness or struggling with poverty, by serving meals, providing basic health care and assessments and offering many other services, such as a clothing closet, recovery groups and opportunities for worship. We served dinner there one evening and many youth preferred to sit and talk with the guests. The laughter and smiles which followed were a joy to witness as our youth interacted with these guests as people and individuals with dignity who are loved and precious and not as a stereotype.
            We also spent a lot of time learning about the immigration crisis in our country. We were visited by Ms. Sylvia Powell, an immigration attorney from Williamsburg, who is also a member of St. Stephens Lutheran Church. She spoke about how those seeking asylum in our country make up just one component under the umbrella of legal immigration and she shared stories of families that are seeking asylum not only because of the danger and violence that they face in their home countries but also because of the economic effects of climate change upon their families.
            She did a great job of explaining some of the nuances of immigration law which could affect a person's claim of asylum. In thanksgiving for her visit, we donated(through our registration fee and accrued savings) $1,200 to cover the court fees of one of her clients.
            In keeping with the theme of immigration.we also experienced a simulation created by AAMPARO, in which youth took on the various roles of people affected by immigration, including migrant families, border control officers, a US Congressman, a teacher and an art worker. And to put hands and feet to what we had been learning, we made burritos and care bags for an organization called TITA (Tidewater Immigration Transportation Assistance), which meets immigrants at the bus stop and helps them on the next step of their journey. We realized that we may not be able to affect the immigration crisis on a large scale but we can make a small difference locally.
            The event is not complete without time near the ocean. We went on a dolphin cruise and saw lots of dolphins, including babies, and spent an afternoon playing in the sand and surf, with the added bonus of Pastor Dave Delaney and intern Samantha DiBlasio joining us!                                                                                

Racial justice pilgrimage in Roanoke
            An interfaith pilgrimage for racial justice started in the Miller Garden of St.. Mark's, Roanoke, and led to a lynching site two blocks away on Aug. 17. The gathering, a Pilgrimage for Racial Justice: Marking 400 Years of Inequality, was co-sponsored by the Episcopal Diocese of Southwestern Virginia and Virginia Theological Seminary, Alexandria.
            "Our history of race relations has been very ugly in the sight of God, as evidenced by the fact we're standing near the site of a lynching," said Pastor Amy Christine Hodge Ziglar of Mt. Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church, Roanoke, according to the Roanoke Times.
            The pilgrimage led to the site where history records that two African American men were lynched in 1892 and 1893 on charges of assaulting white women. Joe Cobb, vice mayor of Roanoke, said, "Their blood runs deep in our city, yet their souls are eternal." This happened "many times in many places" yet those lynched often were innocent, said Pastor Lyle Morton of St. Paul's and West End United Methodist churches, Roanoke,
            Speaking of hatred, Ziglar said, "All we have to do is to understand that we are the instruments of God to keep history from repeating itself. Our land is runing rampant with hatred, but it doesn't have to be so with us ...We can't change history. But we sure can change the future."

Lynchburg youth remember Dachau

         The recent Holy Trinity, Lynchburg, senior youth Luther Heritage Tour included visits to several sites highlighting the horrors of the Holocaust, including the Memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe and the "Topography of Terror" memorial in Berlin, the Nazi Documentation Center and Party Rally Grounds in N├╝rnberg, and the Dachau concentration camp.
           Youth group member Lauren Chester penned the poem below as a reflection on visiting these sites and the Holocaust in general. She shared these words during a time for group reflection and conversation in the Protestant Chapel at Dachau on June 24.

They come to dance among the flowers
Their ashes scattered in the water
They speak as clearly as the sky
Who was silent in their cries
So many died, even God
There was nothing left of the soul
No kindness they beheld
Hunger and heat
Sickness and cold
Was all some would ever know
Tireless work with flogging and worse
It didn't matter who you were
From the littlest babe to the prettiest girl to the wisest man
Money became as useless as prayers
It was the worst of abandonments
The darkest of voids
Sometimes I think of the fear they must have felt
Suffocating in those cattle cars and barracks
Think of the children sent to be turned to dust,
charged with the crime of wearing a star
I see them in the streets
In the garden and the lake
I feel them near me in the dark,
Their fingers stretching for a touch as they did on the trains on the way to their deaths
Beggars and bastards these people were called
People who died in-justly with the promise of 'work brings liberty'
Now across the land they sleep
Their ghosts wander
The living are haunted
For nothing they were swept away
their fates tied together yet broken all the same
Barbed wire and fencing
Flickering lights and experiments
Gallows and stones
Empty eyes and blue tongues
They sit by me on the steps, sighing, resting their heads
I hear them in my sleep
I hear their voices in the tunnels
The biggest mystery is what their futures held?
What would they have become had they not been forced into cages and camps?
In the face of annihilation we must listen to the whispers of the living and dead
to make sure that this never happens again
L. E. Chester

"Unusual Kindness" is LARCUM theme
"They Showed Unusual Kindness," Acts 27:18-28 will be the theme for the annual LARCUM (Lutheran, Anglican, Roman Catholic, United Methodist) Conference at Holy Spirit Catholic Church, Virginia Beach, Nov. 22-23.
            Fr. James Loughran, SA, director of the Graymoor Ecumenical and Interreligious Institute, will present the historical development of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, the challenges to the modern-day movement and practical ways in which local ecumenical communities can celebrate the theme.
            As Christians gather throughout the world to pray for Christian unity, Loughran said, "we are reminded of the importance of need for 'unusual kindness' in the dialogue that leads to growth in unity. We do this in a world where separation and division hinder the quest for Christian unity."
            A conference brochure and online registration will be available at

Pastor Richard Olson dies at 79
Pastor Richard Allan Olson, 79, died in Richmond on Aug. 26. He had served at First English Lutheran from 1989 to 1999. Earlier, he was director for adult education for the former Lutheran Church in America in Philadelphia and he taught at the Lutheran School of Theology, Chicago, and Union Theological Seminary in New York City.
 Surviving are his wife of 53 years, Janyce Olson; two sons, Erik Olson, Austin, TX, and Rolf Olson, LaPaz, Bolivia, and 10 grandchildren.
  His interest in social justice issue led him to serve on the board of the Daily Planet and he advocated in court for a meal ministry for the homeless at First English.
   The funeral was on Aug. 31, at First English Church, conducted by the Rev. Dennis Anderson, assisted by the Rev. Katie Pocalyko, and Bishop Emeritus Jim Mauney preaching. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, Ronald McDonald House/Richmond, Lutheran School of Theology, Chicago, Lakeside Lutheran, Littleton, NC, or a charity of choice.




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